7 Power Habits of Great Leaders, Business Icons and Inspirational Achievers

By Chris Luke

January 24, 2017   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

habits of great leaders

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Our never-ending quest towards self-improvement is a long journey of small steps. Small habits we repeat day after day, week after week, year after year. Small habits that have turned us into who we are today can also determine who we will become in the future.

Below are 7 Power Habits of some of the greatest human beings to ever live.

Have a Vision

martin luther king jr

Who did it? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest American leaders of the 20th century. A civil rights leader, a religious leader, and an African-American leader. King is famously known for his I-have-a-dream-speech at the March on Washington in 1963.

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

His dream was nothing less than racial equality, something that seemed to be a long way off at that time. King’s visionary speech is widely regarded as one of the finest speeches in American history, helping African Americans put racial equality on top of the political agenda which ultimately led to the Civil Rights Act in the following year.

Why you should do it!

The ability of visionary thinking enables us to see past our status quo. It allows us to see past current conditions and limitations. Through a powerful vision we can dream, create and manifest what does not yet exist. Your own personal mission statement will have a directional and a motivational function. It will help you focus on those activities you have to do in the present in order to achieve the desired future state of success.

One of the most well-known and most respected voices on visionary thinking is Napoleon Hill. Hill spent more than 20 years researching the accomplishments and habits of successful people in business, coming to the conclusion that the path to success starts in your mind. You will become what you believe you will become! If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to read and study his book Think and Grow Rich. It’s one of the most powerful books ever written.

Take Action

bill gates

Who does it? Bill Gates

As a guest on Larry King’s famous talk show, Bill Gates opened up about the three key factors of being successful. Besides having a clear vision and being in the right place at the right time, another crucial success factor is to take massive and immediate action. Or to put it in the words of Bill Gates:

“When you find a good idea act on it right away.”

In business, success is often determined by turning ideas into action before your competition does. As the co-founder and president of Microsoft, Gates revolutionized the computer industry. Today he is consistently ranked in the Forbes list of the world’s richest people—so he obviously knows what he is talking about.

Why you should do it!

In our lives, we are all presented with numerous ideas and promising opportunities. Many of them could lead us to wealth and self-fulfillment. They could help us escape the corporate 9-to-5 grind forever.

However, most people, even when they actively recognize that they have a great idea, don’t do anything with it. Most people are simply afraid to take action, or they are just too lazy to follow up on their dreams. Most people would rather stay in their comfort zone. Yet, they all love to read books like these and are inspired by those that took massive action in their lives.

If you dream of a better life, you’d better take action! Now!

See Also: Top 5 Traits Of Billionaires

Don’t Break the Chain

jerry seinfeld

Who does it? Jerry Seinfeld

The New York native started his career as a stand-up comedian before he turned to acting, playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the sitcom Seinfeld. As a touring comic Seinfeld discovered his don’t-break-the-chain method for more productivity. His technique enabled him to become a better comedian and to write better jokes. Just like Stephen King, Seinfeld turned writing into a daily habit. He used a unique calendar system to motivate and pressure himself to write, even when he didn’t feel like it. All he needed was a big wall calendar and a big red magic marker. For each day he successfully followed his habit of writing, he put a big red X over that day.

“After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

Why you should do it!

Seinfeld’s productivity technique can be used for almost every habit, from writing to exercising, from dieting to quitting an addiction. Daily action builds habits. Success is the result of a long series of simple steps. Not breaking the chain for a couple of days will give you momentum and motivation to carry on and not quit. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months. You can use a wall calendar like Seinfeld, or a mobile app.

Follow Your Curiosity

albert einstein

Who did it? Albert Einstein

If people are asked to name the smartest person they know, the name of Einstein will most likely be the most common answer. German-born Albert Einstein developed the grand theory of relativity (e = mc²), the cornerstone of modern physics. In 1921 he won the Nobel Prize for physics, honoring his explanation of the photoelectric effect. He is considered the most influential scientist of the 20th century. He was passionately curious about the mysteries of science. He was also a great philosopher, and moral leader, who has written hundreds of books and articles.

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

Why you should do it!

“Why?” A simple question both parents and teachers alike dread to hear. A question many have stopped asking at some point on their way to becoming an adult. However, constantly following your curiosity is something that offers numerous benefits. Research has shown that curious people are happier. They also tend to be more achieving and successful in life. Curiosity can expand empathy, and thus strengthen social relationships.

See Also: Be a Rebel: 7 Tips for Radical Achievement from Albert Einstein 

Go the Extra Mile

arnold schwarzenegger

Who does it? Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Austrian-born Schwarzenegger began lifting weights at the age of fifteen. That’s when he decided to become a bodybuilder. Five years later he won the title of Mr. Olympia, the most prestigious award in his sport. He has won it seven times! After his bodybuilding career, Arnold moved to America and decided to become an actor. Despite all the doubts of his critics, and his strong accent, he became one of the highest paid movie stars of recent decades. To many, he is the greatest action star Hollywood has ever seen. He then decided to move into politics, only to become the Governor of California.

His resume sounds like the resumes of three different men rather than just one, and it is only due to his relentless drive and insane work ethic. He mastered the ability to go the extra mile in his early life, lifting weights, and applied this concept to all other areas of his professional life as well.

“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.”

Why you should do it!

Going the extra mile is tough. It requires people to get out of their comfort zone. However, it is the ability to push through your limits that separates the greats from the average Joes. Going the extra mile will separate you from the rest.

This habit can be applied to many areas in your life, from your workplace to the gym. If you want to look good naked, push your body to go the extra mile. If you want to really excel in business, school, and life, go the extra mile. Give the people around you—your customers, your team, your family, and friends—more than they expect, and you’ll be rewarded with loyalty, referrals, opportunity and money in return.


charlie chaplin

Who did it? Charlie Chaplin

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Sir Charles “Charlie” Spencer Chaplin spent his entire professional life attempting to make people laugh, and he still does, even to this day. He became an icon through his on-screen persona and portrayal of The Little Tramp. His career lasted no less than 75 years, earning him an honorary Oscar in 1971, six years before his passing in Switzerland in late 1977.

Why you should do it!

Laughing is one of the best feelings in the world. Not only is it a lot of fun, it is also highly infectious. But unlike most things infectious, laughter comes with a great amount of health benefits for your mind and body.

Laughing is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective ways of beating stress. It reduces stress hormones and releases endorphins in return. Endorphins are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. A good dose of laughter will also boost your immune system, making your body more resistant to diseases. Laughter protects your heart. It improves the function of your blood vessels and increases blood flow, which will help your body to protect itself against cardiovascular diseases, even heart attacks. Further benefits of having a good laugh include: improved mood, muscle relaxation and strong social relationships.

Now go ahead and smile, and start spending more time with fun people.

Build Bridges


Who did it? Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton was an English-born physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian. He was certainly one of the most influential people in the history of the world. His famous book Principia, published in 1687, may be the most important science book ever written. It describes universal gravitation, and the three laws of motion, a topic which dominated the scientific view of the universe in the centuries that followed.

Besides that, he also built the first ever telescope, developed a theory of color, formulated an empirical law of cooling, studied the speed of sound, and the list goes on. Besides living a life devoted to science, he was also very religious. He was also a guy that understood the importance of building quality relationships with other people.

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

Why you should do it!

Do you know Bronnie Ware? Neither did I. But it’s well worth listening to what she has to say. Ware is an Australian nurse who spent many years working in palliative care, taking care of patients in the last weeks of their lives. Ware has collected and published their dying epiphanies in the bestselling book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

According to the book, people gain an incredible clarity of vision as they get close to death. When she asked them about their regrets and missed opportunities in life, common themes surfaced over and over again. One of them is the wish that they had stayed in touch with their friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

Now you still have time to tear down walls, and build bridges. Do it, before it is too late!


Chris Luke

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